Chapter XX – Open the Cage


After Hiashi's sentence, Hinata covered her mouth, holding a scream. Neji fisted his hands. The Leader continued:

"But, I'm aware of the conditions it happened. Hideo broke the rules and defied my orders when he abducted Hyuga Hokuto. At that time, it was not clear that she was the second born. Besides, she was too young to receive the Seal and the ritual almost cost her life. According to Hyuga Laws, Hokuto is considered a member of the Royal Family and heir to this Clan. Attempting against her life is high treason. As Regent and Heiress, Neji and Hinata have to follow the Laws; and this council and I decided that their actions were not against the Clan."

Hinata looked at Neji's puzzled face. We won? He believed in us?

The Hyuga Prodigy was not so sure of their victory. Hiashi continued:

"But, due to your position in this clan the rightful measure to be taken was arrest the criminals and submit them to this council and my judgment. Making justice with your own hands was neither suitable nor forgivable. Therefore, I shall sentence Hyuga Neji activation of the Cursed Seal during three minutes…"

Neji made a painful expression. Three whole minutes of torture….

"….and Hyuga Hinata…" – Neji and Hinata looked at Hiashi, breathless – "three hundred lashes."

They couldn't believe: nobody would be killed! Nobody would be marked! Hinata was still the Heiress! To hell with seals and lashes; their plan worked! Hiashi was standing up to carry the sentence when Neji called him:

"Hiashi-sama! May I receive Hinata-sama's punishment in her place?"

"Neji?" – Hinata squeaked.

"No. Request denied. Hinata has to suffer from her actions." – Hiashi coldly replied.

"I beg of you. I have to receive her punishment as well." –Neji's forehead was touching the floor, in a supplicant attitude.

"Neji….Why do you want so much to receive her punishment?" – Hiashi was perplexed.

Hinata touched her cousin's hair, and he lifted a little his head to see her. And smiling, he said:

"She is with child, sir. Hinata-sama can't bear this punishment right now. So, please, let me do this…"

"She is…with child?" – Hiashi stared his elder daughter, and the grandpa inside him just jumped in joy. Controlling his emotions, Hiashi spoke – "Due to the circumstances, I authorize your request."

Neji sighed in relief. And Hinata gave him a tight hug. And they simply forgot the whole audience and gave a hot, loving kiss.

"Ahem…." – Hiashi interrupted – "Hinata you must leave, so I can continue carry the sentence…."

Hinata gave one last kiss in her husband and left the room.

Neji couldn't fell happier to have his cursed seal activated.


Hinata walked through the Manor's corridors. She would wait until Neji's punishment was over, so she could use her medic talents to heal him. Without noticing, Hinata found herself at the garden's door. That place always attracted her.

Sat in the garden's porch, Natsume turned to see who was coming. Hinata nodded to her mother-in-law, but before she could tell what happened, Hinata noticed that Natsume wasn't alone in the garden.

Naruto, the Sixth, was standing up in the garden, arms crossed in his chest and serious expression on his face. Sat on one bench was Sakura, and standing near was Sasuke.

Hinata also saw Tenten sat beside Natsume in the porch; Shino and Lee were leaned on the Manor's pillars.

Naruto spoke, without changing his expression:

"Is it over, Hinata?"

"I-It is, Naru…Hokage-sama…." – she answered humbly.

"Where is Neji?" – Tenten asked.

"Inside ….r-r-receiving the punishment…."

"Shit!" – Naruto yelled, uncrossing his arms and walking towards the Manor interior – "Hey, guys follow me!"

Hinata wide eyed realized their actions and stood between them and the entrance.


"Are you crazy, Hinata? Neji needs our help!" – Naruto screamed.

"N-Naruto-kun, please don't disturb them!"

"He is being punished for that bastard's death! How can you defend those people?" – Tenten was holding several kunai in her hands.

"Please…." – Hinata was begging, but standing on the ground, without moving an inch.

"So, Main Family shows its true colors…" – Natsume said, only staring Hinata sideways, still sat in the porch. Hinata was startled to see how Natsume's angry expression resembled so much Neji's.

"That is not it, Natsume-san…." – she was hurt by that accusation.

"So do you mind explain us the situation, Hinata?" – Shino, always sensible.

"Uh…W-We were considered guilty for grandfather's death." – Hinata started. Tenten muttered something like how can she call the bastard 'grandfather'. Hinata ignored the commentary and continued – "But Father and the Councilmen decided that our crime was attenuated by the circumstances and Gran…Hideo's treason."

"And?" – Sasuke wanted to break some bones, and all that chat was boring him.

"I was condemned to receive three hundred lashes and Neji would have his Cursed Seal activated".

"So, my son is being tortured right now and you are here 'sound and safe'?" – Natsume's voice was poisonous. – "My Mother was killed by that bastard; my granddaughter almost received the seal . Even I got hurt in that night. AND MY SON IS BEING PUNISHED? Where is justice? Hear it well, Hokage-sama: this is the kind of thing that happens inside Hyuga walls!"

For the first time, Naruto felt the weight of the Hokage's position. And looking Hinata into the eyes, he said:

"Hyuga Hinata, get out of my way. That is an order"

"I will not." – Hinata sustained the Hokage's eyes.

"She can be really stubborn, Naruto." – Shino sighed.

"So can I! Move, Hinata! Neji is my friend! He sacrificed his life for me many times. I won't allow such injustice happen under my eyes!"

"There is no injustice, Hokage-sama." – Hinata calmly spoke – "Hiashi-sama decided wisely, according to Hyuga Laws and the situation."

They heard the snapping sound of the lashes coming from inside the Manor. Naruto and the others looked to Hinata. She had her eyes closed shut, and her teeth gritted.

"Weren't you the one supposed to receive the lashes, Hinata-sama?" – Natsume was ironic in her last words, and standing up to face the Heiress she said – "Why is my son receiving your punishment? Don't tell me it's because he is your protector. Oh, I forgot, that is his position in this clan: be the Heiress' shield and receive the blows. That is all Branch House members destiny! To die for the Main House!"

"Natsume-san…" – Hinata tried to explain herself.

"I won't hear anymore, move Hinata. I'm coming in!" – Naruto took another step in her direction.

"No!" – Hinata spread her arms to the sides, blocking the way – "Father decision is wise. We really tried to kill grandfather, so we have to be punished for that. Don't interfere in Hyuga, Naruto-kun!"

"What are you talking, Hinata? You were the one who wanted to change this clan! Why are you letting Neji suffer?" – Lee asked.

"And why aren't you receiving the punishment?" – Natsume provoked once again.

"I….I…I c-can't be...punished…."

"Because you are from the Main House." – Natsume distillated her poison.

"No….I….just can't….Don't ask why." – Hinata bowed her head, remembering to keep the secret about the baby.

"None of your answers convinced me, so I'm going inside to help Neji." – Naruto grabbed Hinata's arms and forced her out of the way.

"Don't, please!" – Hinata was trying to break free from Naruto's grip.

"Wait! Naruto!" – Tenten called – "Hinata, you said you can't receive the punishment?"

"Y-Yes…I'm can't be punished right now…." – she had tears in her eyes.

Tenten searched something in her pockets and got a small velvet box. Showing the box to Hinata, she asked:

"Is because of it?"

Everybody looked puzzled at the weapon mistress. Tenten tapped the box and it opened revealing a golden bird pendant.

Hinata covered her mouth, muffling a loud sob, and with tears in the eyes, she pulled the necklace from inside her jacket. Two golden birds glowing.

Tenten smiled and said:

"Neji asked me to buy this to you. I didn't understand why since it is not your birthday, but when you said that you couldn't receive the punishment I figured out! Congratulations!" – Tenten gave the velvet box to Hinata and hugged her friend.

"What is the meaning of this?" – Naruto asked.

"Baka! I have to explain everything to you! She will have another baby!" – Sakura slapped Naruto's head and walked to give Hinata a hug.

"So this is why Neji is receiving your punishment…." – Natsume was crying, and kneeling in front of Hinata – "I'm sorry for my previous behavior, Hinata-sama. You may punish me as you see fit."

"Natsume-san, please get up! I won't punish you! You are his mother and have all the right to be worried about Neji. I know how you feel!"

"Man, this confused my head even more! So Neji is protecting Hinata because she is pregnant?" – Naruto asked and Sasuke confirmed, rolling his eyes.

"I told you Lee! I would not rest until I figured out what was the present he gave Hinata in her sixteenth birthday!" – Tenten held Lee's neck and kissed his cheek – "It were the birds! He didn't tell me because the twins were supposed to be a secret at that time!"

"And to think we all knew about the twins…" – Lee said, with his radiant smile.

And (with a breaking sound) everybody stared the Taijustu Master open mouthed.

"Y-You knew? You all knew about the twins?" – Hinata asked perplexed.

"Ah…Well….Shizune couldn't hold her tongue and told me. And I told Naruto, who told Kiba, who told Ino and….you can figure the rest yourself…" – Sakura explained, a little embarrassed.

"Oh!" - Hinata was poking her fingers – "So…no secret can survive in a shinobi village after all…."

All laughed. But Naruto cut the funny moment:

"Hey! Hey! We are forgetting Neji! I'm still going there!" – And he managed to pass by the distracted Hinata.

The others followed him through the corridors, until they bumped in Hiashi.

"Hokage-sama." – The Hyuga Leader spoke coldly.

"Hyuga-sama" – Naruto replied in the same cold way – "Where is Hyuga Neji, my friend and personal advisor?"

"Inside my office. I was going to call Hinata." – Hiashi looked to his daughter.

Hinata ran to the office, followed by Sakura, Tenten and Natsume.

Shino, Sasuke, Lee and Naruto remained on the corridor, staring Hiashi.

"I need to attend personal business, Hokage-sama. So, please, excuse me."

"No. I want to talk with you, Hyuga-sama." – Naruto was facing the Leader. The young Rokudaime was a few inches shorter than the Hyuga man, but he was showing all his sovereignty to the older man.

"So, follow me to the conference room, Rokudaime." – Hiashi maintained his cold self. – "You may attend the meeting with the elders from both Houses."

Naruto walked inside the conference room and felt the 54 pairs of white eyes looking at him. It was a terrible sensation, it seemed like those elders were reading his mind. Hiashi offered him his own seat and sat right beside the Hokage.

"Elders, the Hokage will be watching this meeting from now on. Since the trial is over, let's move to the other subjects scheduled for today." – The Leader announced.

"Wait! Wait! How can you say so nonchalantly that the Trial is over? I'm aware of the verdict and how my friends were considered guilty of that freaking bastard's death! I don't agree with that sentence!"

"The freaking bastard you spoke of is my father, honorable Hokage." – Hiashi slowly spoke. His tone of voice made Naruto shivers. Were all Hyuga this freaking?

"Ahem…You…I don't agree with this Hyuga Laws. I want to change it!" – Naruto assumed the brat attitude to piss off the elders and Hiashi.

"I'm afraid that is impossible, Rokudaime. In Konoha the Hokage cannot interfere in clans' laws. But I'm sure you know this, right?" – Hiashi could be ironic when the situation required.

"Well…I'll change that! Hyuga will be the first to suffer the consequences!" – Naruto crossed his arms and stared the Leader.

"Hyuga is the oldest clan in Konoha. We are older than the Village itself. Our alliance with the Shodaime was only possible after he agreed in a non interference pact with Hyuga." – One elder from the Branch House said.

Naruto opened one eye, still trying to keep the brat attitude but afraid that his plan would be more difficult to carry than he ever thought.

"So, Rokudaime, if you interfere in Hyuga, the alliance is broken and we are not going to follow your orders anymore." – A man from the Main House spoke.

"And lose the Hyuga's support is very bad, don't you think?" – Hiashi finished.

"Ah… but can't you …review some of your laws? I mean, times have changed! You gotta revise these laws to adjust them for the new times!" – Naruto said, using the best of his simplicity and honesty.

"Young man, Hyuga is changing. Slowly, but is changing. But to make a sculpture from a rock takes time. To change an old clan also takes time." – Hiashi said – "Let's continue the meeting. Observe us, Hokage-sama"

Naruto heard all the meeting, bored to death. Branch accused Main of stealing lands. Main accused Branch of laziness and insubordination. Hiashi tried to pacify all his clansmen. Naruto had to admit that the Hyuga Leader was a wise man, in spite of his hard ways. But that whole crap was too damn boring…

"Another thing." – Hiashi interrupted the Hokage's considerations about the Hyuga decoration. – "I will take the opportunity of this rare meeting between the two Houses and the Rokudaime's presence to officially name Hyuga Hinata my successor. During the crisis, she showed talent, decision and a strong sense of responsibility. She will inherit the title of Leader in her twentieth birthday!"

Naruto jumped from his seat, surprised! Hinata would be the next Leader and he would have a chance to change that stubborn clan.

"Do you agree with my decision, Hokage-sama?" – Hiashi asked.

"Uh…Of course! Hinata is really strong and smart! Besides she is married with Neji, who is genius! You couldn't choose better, man…I mean…Hyuga-sama!" – Naruto was really happy. He couldn't wait to tell the news to his friends.

"Now you understand my reasons for their arranged marriage, don't you?"

"Not really…."

"Let me make this easier…Hinata and Neji are like ying-yang. One has what the other lacks. I prepared Neji to be Hinata's backup. But I had to make them understand each other first, and marriage was the only way I thought to put them together."

"I see…I still don't agree with the forced wedding. They are not pawns in a chess game; they are people with dreams and whishes. But, since I know they are happy and love each other, I'm not mad…"


January 1st.

When all families in Konoha were celebrating the New Year in a big Festival, Hyuga people were attending the Succession Ceremony at the new shrine.

At both sides of the principal nave, Main and Branch House members tried to pick a good place to watch the ceremony. Hiashi was standing in the pulpit, staring at his elder daughter, who was few meters in front of him. Hinata was wearing a lilac silk kimono, adorned with white petals. Her hair was braided and ornamented with a silver comb. The seven months pregnancy never took away her beauty, but it was quite the opposite: Hinata was gorgeous than ever.

Hiashi was looking in his daughter's eyes; they had that same scared expression she wore over the years. She had always been like this, acting like a mouse, hiding from the others, making her presence invisible.

So different from the man sat behind her. Neji had always been the hawk; a predator that waited in silence, and who proudly flew higher. He was the Hyuga prodigy, arrogant and spartan, but also clever and fierce.

He loved that woman. Hiashi knew that since their childhood. The years of separation, filled with bitterness, only reinforced the feeling in the genius' spirit. And the last five years sealed forever her place in his heart. The Hyuga Leader also knew that the hawk naturally hunted and haunted the mouse; but in that particular case, the hawk would kill any of mouse's enemies. The hawk was jealous and selfish; he wanted the mouse only for him. And that mouse doesn't seem to care about the hawk's possessiveness; she was rather pleased with it, because when she tried to be invisible to other predators, that one saw her and gave importance to her existence – something that not even her closest friends did. They needed each other to feel alive and meaningful.

Neji was wearing a black ceremonial kimono. His long fringe was tied in the back of his head, to show the Caged Bird Seal, attesting his position in that family. But the rest of his hair was loose (with the protests of his mother and wife), falling like a veil on his back down to his waist.

At each side of Neji were sat his son and daughter. Both with worried expressions; it was their first time in one of Hyugas' ceremonies. Hikaru, like his father, had his fringe tied on the back of the head to show the bare forehead – a sign of his position as heir. His kimono was dark blue. The little boy was fisting his hands, analyzing all the faces in that shrine; and sometimes staring at his dad's face.

On Neji's left side was Hokuto. She was wearing a lovely cream kimono, and grandma Natsume braided her hair, adorning it with pearls. She was more scared than her brother; because of her abduction Hokuto became suspicious of any adult Hyuga, except from her close relatives. She was curling one loose strand of her hair and with the free hand she was grabbing a piece of her father's kimono.

"Hyuga Hinata, come forth." – Hiashi ordered.

With certain difficulty due to her present condition, Hinata stood up and walked towards her father. Facing Hinata, Hiashi showed her a magnificent dagger, with silver blade and a scabbard decorated with black onyx and white pearls, forming the ying-yang symbol.

"This is the 'Sleeping Sun', my daughter. This weapon belonged the Founder and is passed down to generations of Hyuga Leaders." – Hiashi handed the dagger to his daughter – "You are its new master now".

Hinata held the blade a little unsure, hypnotized by its deadly beauty.

"The Sleeping Sun symbolizes Hyuga dual nature: the cold of our eyes and the heat in our hearts; the tranquility of our expression, and the fierceness of our spirit. Traits of a true warrior. You are its new master as you are this clan's new leader. Guide your people wisely; follow the laws and tradition, but never ignore your good judgment. And Fortune shall grace your reign."

"I will, Father." – Hinata held the Sleeping Sun near her heart.

"My fellow clansmen! Behold your new Leader: Hyuga Hinata!" – Hiashi announced, touching Hinata's shoulders and turning her body to the audience.

All Hyuga people on the shrine rose and applauded, saluting their new leader. Main House members were allowed to remain upright, but Branch House members had to bow respectfully. And so did Neji. Hikaru and Hokuto observed their father's action and emulated him; Neji placed a finger in each ones' chin to raise their heads:

"You don't have to do this. You are Main Family." – he whispered. The children exchanged puzzled looks and stared their mother.

Hiashi touched Hinata's shoulders again and told her:

"You must confirm Neji's loyalty…"

"He is loyal to me, Father!"

"It is protocol, Hinata."

"Uh…" – she knew the protocol: the consort has to reassure loyalty and matrimonial vows to the new Leader. Hinata really thought that was stupid; well, she was pregnant of that man's third child! They were living together for five years! There was no need for that confirmation! But, thinking better…

"Hyuga Neji." – she called, trying her best to sound decided.

Neji stood up, walked in her direction and kneeled before her. He smirked at Hinata's embarrassed expression. Hinata noticed his amusement: Bloody bastard! He is mocking me! He knows I'm nervous! He is supposed to give me strength not make fun of me! After a lifetime knowing her cousin, Hinata knew that Neji would never let such fine opportunity to make fun of her escape.

"Hyuga Neji, you were given the rank of my protector and consort. Do you still whish to carry these duties?"

"Yes, my Lady."

"You w-will be chained to m-me forever. Even s-so, you w-would still accept the d-duties?" – She used the word 'chained' on purpose. Hinata wanted to see his reaction to that.

And, arrogantly raising his head to look the Leader in the eyes (something forbidden by the laws) he answered:

"My mistress, my life is your and yours only. You shall do whatever you want with it." – And this was his response to the word 'chained'. The slight irony of his tone revealed the open wound he carried for being a caged bird. Hinata wondered how long he would lecture her about that later…

"Would you give your life to me, Hyuga Neji?"

"I shall gladly abandon my life for you, Hinata-sama."

"I mean …now" – and in a lighting speed movement, Hinata drew the dagger from its scabbard and slashed Neji's forehead.

Hiashi gasped and took a step forward; the audience became restless, making surprised and frightened sounds. Hikaru stood up and Hokuto covered her eyes. Hanabi held her nephews, to avoid more confusion.

Neji touched the moisture on his forehead; there was blood in his hands and blood drops on his kimono and on the floor. He looked at Hinata:

"W-What are you doing?"

She didn't answer. Hinata used the same blade to cut her own palm, taking her blood.

And then, she made complicated hand seals; blood drops falling at each movement. When the final seal was performed, Hinata placed both hands on Neji's forehead.

The Hyuga prodigy could feel chakra emanating from her touch, burning inside out his eyes, forehead and brain. He couldn't hold a scream of pain.

Hinata was concentrated in the operation; she had to keep absolute chakra control – and it was not easy with pregnancy. Chanting some words, more chakra flow from her hands. Neji's painful expression was terrible. Hiashi gave another step in his daughter direction.

"I can't believe! It is the 'Tamed Falcon Seal'!" – One elder lady from the Main House yelled.

"What! The 'Tamed Falcon Seal' was lost for generations! It is impossible!" – Hiashi screamed!

"Father! What this seal mean? What Neesan is doing?' – Hanabi was scared, holding tightly the children.

Hinata was still forcing her chakra into Neji's forehead. Both were experiencing pain.

After some minutes, she finally released her hands and fell on her knees. Neji was holding his forehead, his eyesight was blurred but the pain was gone.

Hiashi stared at Neji's forehead: the Caged Bird Seal was still there, but now it had a small circle in the middle of the manji. So it was really the 'Tamed Falcon Seal', the one that allowed only one person to activate the Caged Bird Seal. From now on, only Hinata could use Neji's seal; he was immune to all other Main House members.

Hinata hugged Neji's neck and whispered in his ears:

"You are free, my love! You are forever free!" – she was crying tears of happiness, fighting the exhaustion of the sealing procedure.

"W-What have you done to me?" – he asked hesitantly.

"This is the 'Tamed Falcon Seal'. Now, only I can activate you Cursed Seal! And I don't even know how to do this!" – she giggled and cried at the same time.

"Gods…I can't believe in you! Thank you, Hinata! Thank you so much!" – he rested his head on the curve of her neck, hiding his tears and muffling his sobs in her indigo hair.

"Where…Where did you learn this Seal, Hinata?" – Hiashi asked.

"F-From an old scroll I found on the L-Library attic…."

"Where is it?"

"I burnt it down after I memorized the jutsu."

Hiashi realized that it was her present to Neji and only Neji. Hinata would not share that blessing with anyone else. It didn't change his status as Branch House member, but it gave more power to an already powerful Hyuga. These two…they are really plotting the revolution in this Clan.

Hinata stood up and spoke, louder than she could:

"Listen my fellow clansmen! From this moment on, you shall respect and obey Hyuga Neji's words as they were my own. He is my consort, protector and my second in command. He has all my trust. This clan is a family. And every family needs a father and a mother."

And, with those words the weak, withdrawn and invisible Hyuga Hinata started her revolution in the Hyuga clan.


Spring once again graced Konoha with its sweet scents and bright colors. All village was joyful for new season; showing new buildings, new stores, the new face sculpted at the Mountain – Naruto's face.

The Head's office in the Hyuga State had its doors wide open, revealing the well treated garden and welcoming the flowers and herbs' smell inside the place.

Hyuga Neji was sat on the tatami floor, reading some documents: landlord fights; arguing between neighbors; discussion over the possession of some barley fields and other stuff regarding the clan.

"These people are stubborn. Do you believe that they are still signing the petitions as Main House members or Branch House members? We already told them that we would not take this in consideration anymore!"

"Three hundred years of habit cannot be changed in three months, niisan." – Hyuga Hinata said in her shy voice, while breastfed her new born son, Hiro.

"I know…But this still pisses me off…"

The garden gate made a noise and the couple saw their elder children running and laughing, followed by Kushiro, the puppy Kiba gave them. Hinata smiled, admiring her children. Neji smirked and turned to his wife:

"Do you know that the little furry monster gnawed all my weapons' bag?"

"Oh, he did this?" – She said with her small voice – "Niisan, it is a puppy, he wanted to play!"

"Hmgf. I'm using your weapons' bag until I get a new one." – And he was mentally thinking what would be the best way to kill Kiba.

"You can use it, since I'm not going on missions for some time…" – Hinata helped Hiro to catch her nipple and, without looking at Neji, she decided that it would be a good time to deal with more delicate subjects – "Hum…Neji, we should think about the twins' birthday party…They are talking about it all the time…".

"We have discussed that before and I said that they would not have a birthday party this year." – He moved his eyes back to the documents; his way to end the discussion.

"But…They want it so much….I really think we should celebrate their fourth birthday…" – Hinata was stubborn, so the discussion was not over yet.

"Hinata, children's parties are noisy, full of brats running between our legs, blowing the fucking balloons that took us so much time to fill in; and they cry, scream, and dirty their new clothes and other bad stuff. I hate children's parties! Besides, Hiro is too young and all the noise and mess will disturb him".

"Neji…reconsider. Please!" – She was making that innocent face.

"Ok. I'll give it a thought…" – that innocent face of hers always won him.

"Another thing…." – if Hiro wasn't in her arms, she would certainly be killed for the next subject – "Naruto invited us to the Spring Festival, tonight"

"I think this pregnancy screwed up something on your brain, dear cousin." – He scowled at her – "No way! Hiro is barely one month and he can't go outside! Especially the Festival, with all those people, greasy food and fireworks!"

"But I want to go to the Festival!" – She said as held Hiro on her shoulders to make him belch – "the Festival is important to us! Remember that we got engaged five years ago during the Spring Festival!"

"As if I wanted to remember that day…." – he said in a boring tone.

"It is not the engagement that matters but we should celebrate our victory against the odds life imposed us! That is the meaning of spring: new beginnings!" – She was smiling like a child.

"What about Hiro?" – Neji really hated that Festival. He always hated it, even before the events of five years ago.

"Hiro is perfectly healthy. He can go outside! I'm a medic nin, niisan!"

"Thanks, doc!" – He mocked, and added after – "But we leave before the fireworks!"

That is it: the last word was always his. She could be the Leader of the clan, but in their family he was the almighty boss.

Hikaru, Hokuto and Kushiro walked inside the room, giggling, sweating and panting from all the exercise.

"Children! Good news! Dad agreed to go to the Festival tonight!" – Hinata announced to the twins.

"YEEEE! Thanks daddy!" – Hikaru yelled.

"You are the best daddy in the world!" – Hokuto cupped Neji's face in her small hands, touching her forehead on his.

"Hime-chan….what is this…thing?" – He noticed a doll like object on her arms.

"This is the present uncle Lee gave me!" – She lifted the thing up to Neji's face (he raised an eyebrow at the thing) – "Uncle Lee said he did it with his own hands!"

"I don't doubt it…" – Neji made a very displeased face.

"Sweetheart, tell daddy the doll's name!" – Hinata slowly said, sending a mischievous glare to her husband, making Neji wonder: Can it get any worse?

"Oh yes! Daddy my new friend's name is Mr. Youth! Isn't it cool?" – Hokuto smiled like she said the most important thing in the world.

"Mr. Youth…." – Neji repeated the thing's name, staring Hinata (who was laughing out loud) and cursing Lee with all the imprecations he knew. He also added to his mental notes to kill Lee. Maybe he could make Lee and Kiba fight each other; one of them would certainly die and save him half the trouble.

"Uh…daddy?" – Hikaru's voice removed from Neji's mind the scene of Lee and Kiba hanged on a tree.

"What is it, son?"

"Uh…were those papers over there important papers?" – Hikaru was speaking slowly and walking to position himself behind Hinata.

Neji looked at the papers his son spoke of and saw Kushiro shredding pieces and pieces of Hyuga documents, petitions and contracts. Neji's eyes hardened and he was grinding his teeth.

"Yes, they were, son." – Neji hissed.

"Ah…..Children! Why don't you go to grandma Natsume's house? She said something about baking cakes today!" – Hinata quickly displayed all the diplomacy required in her position as Leader and Neji's wife.

As good shinobi apprentices, Hikaru, Hokuto (holding Mr. Youth) and Kushiro dashed outside the room and away from Neji's sight.

"Tell me again about the puppy's qualities…." – he hissed, still showing rage traces on his face.

Hinata crawled to his side, holding a sleeping Hiro in her arms; and touching Neji's shoulders she said:

"You p-practice m-meditation so much…Now is a g-good time to s-show your control over the e-emotions, dear…"

"Hinata…don't abuse of my patience…" – he gave a furious look at her.

The young Hyuga Leader cupped her husband's chin in one hand, and turning his angry face to her side, kissed his lips.

"Feel better?"

"Uhh…not yet…"

She giggled and kissed his again, this time a little longer.

"And now?"

"You have talent as medic nin…" – he smirked at her.

"I love you!" – She said timidly and blushing like a teenager.

"Idem" – he spoke nonchalantly.

"Why you say 'idem'?" – She frowned – "You never say you love me, niisan!"

"I don't have to say it all time! You know how much I hate fluffiness! Besides, 'idem' is shorter." – He told very seriously.

"Not fair!"

Hiro sprawled, making Hinata adjust her arms to better hold him. Neji took advantage of her distraction and molded his lips into hers, in a very passionate kiss. After some minutes of lips touching and tongues fighting, they parted to breath.

"Do you still want me to say something, Hinata-sama?" – He teased her.

"Umm…Yes I do, Neji-sama. Please, repeat your last words…" – she smiled close to his face, brushing her mouth into his.

Another ardent kiss started.

Spring is a time for new beginnings.

To Hinata and Neji, life is only showing its paths. They are young and still have lots of obstacles to surpass, lessons to learn, tears to cry and smiles to give.

Living in the Hyuga clan was once like live in a cage. But to them was just a reason to fight destiny and make a change.

Between heaven and hell they will walk, following their hearts and willpower; because that is their ninja way.

And they are going to teach this to their children and a whole new generation of Hyuga kids, with unmarked foreheads and free spirits.

But right now, they are only thinking about that kiss.

Their world is peaceful and still.

The End


A/N: thanks for all those who read this fanfiction. A special thanks for all the reviewers, who encouraged me a lot to continue this story! (big bear hug in all of you!XD)

This was my first fanfiction, so I hope you really enjoyed it; because I enjoyed writing it a lot.

I'm sorry for the grammar mistakes!

Sleeping Sun is the name of Nightwish's song which inspired me for the romantic scene in chapter 7.

And in case you thought I forgot, here is the disclaimer: I don't own Naruto; but I do own Hikaru, Hokuto, Hiro, Sanae, Natsume, Misa, Hideo, Mr. Sunflower and Mr. Youth; and this story!

Thank you!

Twillight Owl